Bernard "Bernie" Earnest Schatz, 93, passed away on December 16, 2020. Bernie was born in Greenfield, MA on July 5, 1927 and grew up on his family's farm on the French King Highway at the corner of Wildwood Avenue, where a kidney dialysis center is now located. At that time, Wildwood Avenue was a path through their pasture extending to Federal Street. Growing up, Bernie attended Holy Trinity School and then Greenfield Vocational School. Bernie was a doer, working from the time he was a boy when he delivered eggs and newspapers by horse cart up the Adams Rd., Lovers Ln. and Bernardston Rd. areas.
Bernie served in the Navy during World War II, and upon return from service started Bernie's Auto Repairs and Sales, with service stations located throughout the Greenfield area at various points. He serviced various fleet trucks for many companies, including St. Johnsbury Trucking. Bernie later specialized in foreign cars as people came from all over the world, to have him fix their vehicles. Bernie would go out at any time of day or night to help someone in trouble, and if one could not afford to pay him, Bernie would perform service on a promise or barter. Bernie also towed vehicles for AAA and plowed snow on the side.
Bernie also held employment with Millers Falls Tool, WW Wyman, building bridges on Routes 91 and 89, as a welder and equipment repairman. He then worked for the railroad, retiring in his 70s from Amtrak, where he repaired equipment including jet engines used for snow blowing. Whether it was on the job or doing repairs on the side, Bernie loved to "tinker" as he called it, especially with motors, and was known as someone who could fix almost anything.
Bernie married Alfreda Ingram in 1948, and remaining married up until her death in 1985.
Bernie participated in many activities and was a member of various clubs and organizations. He was a member of the Greenfield Elks, and was always willing to help at any of their events or functions. In his later years he was very supportive of the veterans' programs at the Elks. He supported the Building Bridges meals program put on by the Episcopal Church, and attended the Moose Lodge, American Legion, Ducks Unlimited and both Polish clubs in Greenfield. He was a life member of Leyden Rifle Range, the Ten Point Club in West Wardsboro, VT and the Greenfield Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also served as the Last Post Commander John F. Harrington of Post 417.
Bernie loved the outdoors, hunting and travel. He took annual trips to goose hunt in Maryland with his friend Jack Wolfram, hunted deer and rabbit at the Ten Point Club, as well as deer in Northeast Cary, MN with his son. He also loved grouse and pheasant hunting. He raised prize chickens and went to New York City and won various blue ribbons with them.
Bernie touched the lives of many people with his work ethic, humility, and kindness. He had a hard time telling anyone no and didn't think of himself first, as he found enjoyment in helping others. He liked to be with people and they liked to be around him. He loved to have fun and work was fun, especially with a cocktail in hand. Bernie loved Polish music and polka dancing, especially at the Polish Picnic. He loved animals (pets) and could walk up to just about any and make friends with them.
In his later years Bernie loved spending time with and enjoying his grandchildren, great grandchildren, his friend Alan Jurek and his longtime partner Constance "Connie" Thornburg. Bernie was very proud of the accomplishments his daughter, sons and grandchildren and was always interested in hearing about the events and watching the sports his great grandchildren were involved in.
Bernie was predeceased by his wife Alfreda Ingram and a son, Terrance. He is survived by his sister Ellen "Joan" Weldon of Sandy Hook, CT; his daughter Karen Sheperd "Miss" of Greenfield; his son Bernard and wife Betsy of Westmoreland N.H.; son Eric and wife Belinda of Shelburne; along with five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Due to COVID-19, memorial services will be at a later date. Donations can be made to Building Bridges, 37 Chestnut St. in Springfield, MA 01103, or to the Franklin County Regional Dog Shelter at 10 Sandy Ln., Turners Falls, MA 01376, with checks payable to the Friends of the Franklin County Dog Shelter.
Arrangements are under the direction of Kostanski Funeral Home.
For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com
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